GRAND CHUTE, WI - Both teams scored early before the pitching and defense took over in Friday's contest between the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Peoria Chiefs at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Unfortunately for the home team, it was the Chiefs who scored twice and made the lead stand all the way to the finish line for a 2-1 victory over the Rattlers in game one of a four-game series.
The Chiefs (58-37 overall, 9-5 second half) had a 1-0 lead two batters into the game. Irving Lopez doubled to start the first inning. Rayder Ascanio dropped a bunt single up the third base line and first baseman Gabriel García mishandled the throw to allow Lopez to score.
Peoria loaded the bases in the top of the second inning and scored when Wisconsin starting pitcher Carlos Herrera threw a wild pitch.
Payton Henry launched his seventh home run of the season and got the Timber Rattlers (36-48, 5-10) on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second. Henry's lead-off shot cut the deficit to one run and that would be where the score remained for the rest of the game.
The Chiefs almost added to their advantage in the top of the fourth as Herrera gave up a walk and a single to the first two hitters he faced before leaving the game. Reliever JT Hintzen came into the game and gave up a single to JR Davis, but centerfielder Zach Clark came up throwing and got the runner trying to score from second at the plate.
From that point of the game, the Chiefs did not get another base runner. Hintzen retired the final eight batters he faced. Cody Beckman retired all six batters he faced in the game and Gabe Friese tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to make it a streak of 17 Peoria batters in a row who were retired.
Wisconsin's offense was kept almost as silent. Peoria starter Alex Fagalde gave up two hits and one walk with five strikeouts over seven innings. Tristen Lutz had a one-out single in the fourth, but Fagalde got an inning-ending double play. Trever Morrison walked with one out in the fifth and was left stranded and Fagalde retired the last eight batters he faced.
García drew a two-out walk in eighth against reliever Bryan Dobzanski, but was left aboard when the inning ended.
Lutz doubled with two outs against Kodi Whitley in the ninth inning to bring Henry back to the plate. Henry hit a hard grounder down the third base line, but Elehuris Montero made a quick, back-handed pick and threw to first to end the game.
Wisconsin is 2-8 against the Chiefs this season.
Game two of the series is Saturday night. Christian Taugner (4-6, 3.55) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Franyel Casadilla (0-1, 10.13) is set to start for the Chiefs. Game time is 6:35pm.
The Rattlers and Citgo have decreed Saturday night to be Princess Night in the Kingdom of TRatNation! Come out to meet Elsa, Anna, Moana, Ariel, and Cinderella on this fairytale night at the ballpark. The first 500 fans under the age of twelve to attend this game will receive a tiara. Tundraland presents a royal postgame fireworks celebration. After the fireworks, princes and princesses aged 14 and under may run the bases courtesy of Meijer. It's all part of a North Shore Bank Family Night with WIXX.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, the radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Pregame Show at 6:15pm. The broadcast is also available on the Tune In and IHeart Radio apps. The game will be televised on CW-14 in Green Bay and My-24 in Milwaukee starting at 6:30pm. Subscribers to MiLB.tv can watch the game over the internet.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.